There are many programs funded by the federal government to help you create a trucking business. As with any federal or state program, funds are not given directly to individuals. There is no such concept as “free money,” but federal and state governments do spend money to set up procurement programs and business development training programs.
DOT Procurement System
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has designed a procurement system using its grant funds. These funds are set aside to award procurement contracts to transportation businesses across the country specializing in the areas of highway construction and cargo transport. Furthermore, funds through DOT's procurement system help provide training and certification for business and transportation professionals starting their careers or businesses.
Small Business Development Center
If you need assistance creating a business plan, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), in conjunction with business development associations, has created Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) to help you. SBDCs use federal grant funding to provide education and technical and financial consulting to both new and existing business owners. Some consulting services are available for a small fee.
Starting a trucking company requires a substantial outlay of capital for equipment and vehicles. This can be accomplished by obtaining a government procurement contract. The Office of Government Contracting, through the SBA, is a grant funded system that allows startup business owners to participate in the procurement system. There are also special designation contracts for veterans, minorities and women, which are “set-aside” opportunities. Most startup trucking businesses partner with larger businesses through the SBA 8(a) program--a business mentorship program. This is a great way to get on the fast track to creating a trucking business with viable capital.
Supplier Development Council
Supplier development councils are funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the SBA. Supplier development councils help people in the transportation industry obtain corporate contracts from companies such as Boeing, McDonnell Douglas and Amtrak. Contracts are also available for transportation engineering contracts. If you are classified as a minority business, SDCs can help you with special programs such as procurement conventions and local trade shows. SDCs are located in every state.
SBA 7a Loan Guaranty Program
If you need a reduced loan rate to start your trucking business, the SBA has a program that can help you obtain a bank loan: the 7a Loan Program. According to SBA.com: "The 7(a) Loan Program is SBA’s primary program for helping start-up and existing small businesses, with financing guaranteed for a variety of general business purposes. SBA does not make loans itself, but rather guarantees loans made by participating lending institutions." The SBA insures 80 percent of your loan; the bank insures the other 20 percent. You must have good credit to use this program. This SBA program is made possible by grants through annual fund appropriations through Congress.